I received my undergraduate degree (with honors) in Economics from Delhi University, my masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and my PhD in Social Work with a Graduate Certificate in New Institutional Social Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis.
My work focuses on the political economy of development and the politics of institutional change in developing countries. I investigate how institutions at the global, national and local levels interact to shape human well-being in marginalized communities in the third world in an age of globalization and a period of ‘late’ capitalism. My broad interests lie in political economy, community development, institutional change, economic liberalization, social policy, marginality, sustainable development, livelihoods, agriculture, natural resources, commodities, local governance, and participatory democracy. I use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods grounded in ethnographic fieldwork.
Sponsored by grants from the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences and the Southern Asia Institute at Columbia University among others, my current work explores a range of themes. These include the impact of neoliberal reforms on development policies in the global South, the transformation of the developmentalist state in the postcolonial world in the 21st century, the effects of market-driven development strategies on inequality and the environment in ecologically fragile communities, and the interaction of policies with social norms to shape the effects of global microfinance. My work draws upon multi-level ethnography among indigenous and marginalized-caste communities in the harsh, semi-arid environments of Gujarat, western India, the flagship state of pro-market reforms in the country. While South Asia is my regional focus, my interests include Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the United States.